Summer Share 2016 - Week 6 - Middle Way Farm
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Summer Share
Weekly Newsletter 

Week 6
July 3, 2016
What You Will Find in This Newsletter
  1. Important Notes
  2. What's in the Share?
  3. Place Your Custom Order
  4. Farmer Reflection
  5. What to Do With Your Share
  6. Recipe of the Week
  7. Photo of the Week
Important Notes
WEEK 6 = EVEN NUMBERED, SO EVERY OTHER WEEK SHARE will be delivered this week. 

You can still use for the time being to contact me, but you will receive e-mail newsletters from This is in response to policy changes with e-mail clients that may prevent delivery of mass e-mails coming from my Gmail address. I will be transitioning to using the address for all farm e-mail during the rest of the year. I also have a newly rebuilt website at Its still in progress but is now launched!

Standard Share Members - if you are interested in ordering anything extra from the custom order list below, in addition to your regular share, please e-mail me at and I can add it to box. Please e-mail me prior to Tuesday morning if you are in Ames, or prior to Wednesday morning if you are in Newton or Grinnell. I will manually add the order total to your account and you will be billed for any extra charges at the end of the CSA season. 

As a custom share member, you are allowed to use your CSA credit at the Thursday Grinnell Farmers Market. After market, you will receive a confirmation e-mail with your order total after I have input to Small Farm Central. I prefer that farmers market purchases be used as supplement to your normal custom ordering, rather than a replacement, as the manual input of custom orders is extra work on my end. 

What's in the Standard Share
(With Custom Order Options and Prices)

Broccoli -  3/4 lb bag ($3/bag or 2 for $5)
Carrots, Greentop -1 bunch ($3/bunch or 2 for $5)
Fresh Garlic - 1 bunch of 3 bulbs ($3/bunch)
Fresh White Onions- 1 bunch ($2.50/bunch or 2 for $4)
Green Beans - 1 pint (Standard Share Only)
Kale, Green - 1 bunch ($2/bunch or 3 for $5)
Head Lettuce - 2 heads ($2.50/head or 2 for $4)
New Potatoes, Tri-Color Medley -  1 quart - ~1.75 lb - of red, yellow, and purple potatoes ($4/quart)
Also Available for Custom Order
Beets, Greentop - $3/bunch or 2 for $5
Beets (bulk) - $2.50/lb
Cabbage, Green - 1 head ($2.50/head or 2 for $4)
Cabbage, Napa - $2.50/head or 2 for $4
Chard - $3/bunch
Dill - $2/bunch or 3 for $5
Kale, Lacinato - $2/bunch or 3 for $5
Kale, Red Curly - $2/ bunch or 3 for $5
Kohlrabi - Choose purple or green. $1/bulb or 3 for $2.50
Lettuce Mix - $4/6 oz. bag or 2 for $7
Parsley - $2/bunch or 3 for $5
Snap Peas -  1/2 lb bag ($3/bag or 2 for $5) LAST HARVEST
Turnips, Salad - Choose scarlet or white. $2.50/bunch or 2 for $4

All annual & perennial herbs and annual vegetable plants are $2 each (6 oz. cups or single soil blocks)

Fruit Share

Blueberries - 1 quart (anticipated)

Possibilities for Next Week
The green beans are still producing quite slowly so they are once again limited to standard share. The zucchini and cucumbers are somewhat behind because of a late planting and slowness getting established in the heat and dry. I think they will ultimately produce a nice crop, but maybe a few weeks later than I would hope. Several more types of cabbage including red and savoy are maturing. Garlic harvest starts this week and the early white and Candy bulb onions look fantastic. 
Place Your Custom Order
How to Place Your Custom Order
  1. Go to
  2. Click on Member Log-in and use the Log-in Via E-mail the first time to generate a log-in link. You can then change your password and log-in via password in the future. 
  3.  Click the "Store" link under Place Your Order on the left sidebar. 
  4. You have until Tuesday midnight to place your order (Tuesday pick ups have a separate Sunday deadline). You will not be able to place an order after then. Add items to your "shopping cart" as you would any online store. 
  5.  Your share will be pre-packed in a wax box, but please plan on bringing your own bag so that the boxes can stay at the distribution site. I like to reuse the boxes many times and the best way to do that is for them not to go home with members! 
IMPORTANT: Make sure to complete your order by completely checking out. Your order is not submitted unless you receive a confirmation e-mail. That let's you know that I got your order on my end. Every so often there is a member who thinks they have placed an order but didn't fully checkout and then are disappointed when there is no share packed for them, so be wary of that!

E-mail if you have any problems ordering or other questions.
Farmer Reflection

We got a much needed 2/3 inch of rain on Thursday afternoon, which came in swiftly and ominously, shutting down the Grinnell farmers market over an hour early. I got back to the farm just in time to close the greenhouse and put away all the things I had left outside before it began to pour. The lack of rain has certainly affected sometimes yield and also pace of growth, both by slowing and sometimes by pushing maturity ahead prematurely. The green beans are a good example. Although I planted two 100 foot beds, (400 feet of row), we've been picking just 5 to 10 pounds every few days, compared to last year when we picked over 100 pounds in a single pick! The lower yield is also due to lower germination, another symptom of lack of moisture and heat. Like many crops that are direct seeded, I generally do not irrigate green beans, but I am thinking that it may be necessary to start irrigating the second planting (even with the recent rain), which is already prematurely beginning to flower, even though the plants are still quite small. The first dig of potatoes was low compared to last year, 1/3 to 1/6 as much. The heat and drought has also affected the broccoli. Broccoli in this week's share and last week's may look rougher and lighter green than you would expect. This broccoli comes from a variety that apparently is quite susceptible to heat stress and produces these lighter colored heads as a result (I will be dropping this variety in favor of a more heat resistant variety next year). I think the flavor is still fine, but its appearance contrasts with the other main season variety I'm growing, which had nice dark green "fluffy" heads of broccoli. 

You may be thinking that you haven't really noticed any lack in your CSA boxes, and I certainly think that is basically true. The boxes have been abundant and diverse. By planting a high diversity of crops, using irrigation strategically, over-planting, planting multiple times, choosing productive and adaptable varieties, and working with generally fertile soil that has good organic matter, I'm able to buffer somewhat the extremes of heat and dryness. The heat and dry also have some salutary effects on crops, particularly the warm season ones that thrive in hot temperatures and do not like overly moist conditions. I'm excited to see what the sweet potatoes do this year. While I may notice certain plantings aren't doing as well or yield is lower on my end, as a customer you would probably have a hard time telling that this is anything but a normal, even better than normal, growing season. Let's hope that continues, as nothing is ever guaranteed in agriculture. I am also, as always, majorly impressed by the resilience of plants and their ability to grow and even thrive in what appear to me to be severe and adverse conditions.  

Previous year members will know that I'm fond of recasting Fourth of July as "Inter-dependence Day". The concept of interdependence is very important to how I see the world and how my farm fits into it. Interdependence means that no single thing stands alone. In reality, every single thing is intertwined with and supported by innumerable other things. Its just a trick of language and surface perception that we think separate "things" exist absolutely. Of course on a relative level our life is made up of separate things and this is the way we must understand the world in order to get by.  But by thinking interdependently, as Vietnamese Buddhist monk Thich Naht Hanh has pointed out, we can see not only the tree in a sheet of paper, but also the rain from the cloud and the lumberjack who felled the tree. He calls it "inter-being". 

Every living thing is an example of interdependence. Take our digestive systems. They are populated by millions of species of bacteria that work symbiotically with our bodies to digest our food, extract nutrients, process toxins, and defend against pathogens. We could not live without these organisms, and they in turn have become intertwined with us. So what part of our digestive system is strictly human? Its hard to actually make the distinction. What's more, when we think about what our bodies are actually made up off, where the "stuff" of our tissue comes from, its from the food we have eaten, along with what our mothers consumed while we were in utero. So our existence is intimately intertwined with food and agriculture, which means it is interdependent with the soil (including its many microorganisms) that is the ultimate source of all food. 

So I think that its worth celebrating our interdependence as much as it is our historical political independence. The truth is that we are much more interdependent beings than we are independent ones, although we like to fancy that we are each shining, special individuals! I am grateful this weekend for all the connections, visible and invisible, known and unknown, that sustain my life and those around me. In a world where it is easy to feel an ever increasing sense of chaos and atomization within ourselves, between individuals, and between groups, its important to remember that what underlies it all is interdependence, which precedes us and will go on after us. 
Your farmer, 

What to Do with Your Share

Broccoli - There are two types of broccoli you may receive in your share. One would be the lighter green colored heads from the variety that has been showing heat stress.  I think the flavor is still fine, but its appearance contrasts with the other type of broccoli, which has the more typical dark green "fluffy" heads.

Preparation & Cooking:  Broccoli comes clean and "ready to eat", sitting high atop a plant away from the soil. However, with organic broccoli you may encounter the occasional insect that has hidden inside the head. I spray a non toxic organic pesticide for cabbage loopers (caterpillars of cabbage moths), but you may find one in there if their population has built up enough. There is also a brown beetle that appears harmless to the broccoli but is a common site crawling around atop heads. To make sure your heads are insect free, just soak them in a bowl of salted water for 15 minutes. Any insects will float to the top. While many steam or boil broccoli, I always suggest roasting it. 

Storage: Keep in a sealed plastic bag in the crisper drawer set on high humidity. Use within a week, broccoli does not store well. 

Carrots While smaller and more slender than you might be used to, the carrots this week are young and full of flavor. They will continue to size up the longer they are in the ground, so expect them to increase in size over the next few weeks. 

Preparation & Cooking:  Carrot greens can either be discarded or saved and used similar to parsley as a fresh herb. I have never tried it, but several customers have told me they enjoy carrot greens in smoothies and even as pesto. Carrots are wonderful raw or cooked. No need to peel them - a good scrub with a bristle brush will do to remove any remaining dirt. 

Storage:   Detach greens from roots and keep each in separate sealed plastic bags in the crisper drawer set on high humidity. Use greens within a week or so. Roots can keep for well over a month. These carrots are not a storage variety, but will still hold up very well in fridge. 

Fresh Garlic - We are starting garlic harvest this week. Fresh garlic is a bulb that has come right out of the ground and not been cured (dried) for long term storage. After the garlic has had a chance to cure in the heat of the greenhouse for a few weeks, then it will be called cured garlic that will keep into the fall and winter.  

Preparation & Cooking: Fresh garlic is wonderful because it has moist skins that slip right off and a powerful aroma. Use it just like you would regular cured garlic. Its wonderful roasted as a whole bulb as well. 

Storage: Keep this garlic on the counter, not in a sealed container. It is still wet and may mold if not given good air circulation. The fridge is also fine but unnecessary. You can leave the green tops on until you are ready to use the garlic. It will continue to dry the longer you keep it so there is no rush to use it. 

Green Beans - The green beans are still producing quite slowly so they are once again limited to standard share.

Preparation & Cooking:  Like cabbages, broccoli, and just about any other vegetable, roasting is a great option for green beans. They can also be sliced and sauted in oil or butter as a side dish. Green bean pate is another favorite recipe of mine. 

Storage:  Store in a sealed plastic bag in the crisper drawer for up to a week. Green beans, like peas, diminish in quality fairly rapidly the longer they are stored, so the sooner you use them the better. 

Fresh White Onion -  The white onions are in the midst of putting on their final size as we move towards onion harvest at the end of the month into early August. These onions are fresh (not cured or dried) and slightly smaller than the mature, full-sized onions will be. We will enjoy fresh onions of several varieties for the next several weeks.  

Preparation & Cooking: When preparing, trim off the root and the top of part of the leaves that is yellowed or tougher. Rinse under running water, especially under the layers of leaves, which may harbor soil or other debris. I quickly clean and peel onions by slicing off the root and the top and cutting them in half, then taking off the top layer of skin. Good for any onion use but also great grilled and roasted whole like a pearl onion. 

Storage: Like the garlic, you can keep these onions on the counter, but not a sealed container. They are still wet and may mold if not given good air circulation. The fridge is also fine but not necessary unless you want to preserve the green tops. You can leave the green tops on until you are ready to use the onions.  They will continue to dry the longer you keep them so there is no rush to use them. 

Head Lettuce

Preparation & Cooking: Cut off the first inch or two of the bottom of the lettuce head and discard. Wash any dirt that might have been hidden on the inner parts of the leaves. Make sure to spin or pat dry before consuming or storing. Wet lettuce leaves go bad faster!

Storage: Keep in a sealed plastic bag in the crisper drawer set on high humidity. Should keep well for at least a week. 

Green Kale -  I feel like I have see the rise and maybe the fall (or just the leveling off) of interest in kale. Three years ago it seemed like everyone wanted to know about it and all the media reports were about its superfood status, but I have seen interest (and sales drop off) this year and last year. Maybe its a little overexposed. Nonetheless, kale is still an excellent, versatile, nutritious cooking green that is easy to grow and available for almost the entire growing season. Its closely related to cabbage and broccoli. 

Preparation & Cooking: Strip the leaves from the fibrous mid-rib by turning the leaf mid-rib towards the ceiling and running your hand tightly over the leaf, pulling the leaf off in one motion. You can also do this with a knife. Discard the mid-rib. You can then tear or cut the leaf up into bite size pieces. I would suggest cooking full size kale leaves, as the raw leaf is quite fibrous and bitter, but you can also make massaged kale salads, which alleviates the toughness and bitterness of the raw leaf. In my opinion, baby kale is much more suitable for eating raw in salads.  Kale can be sauted, added to soups, and boiled or steamed. I enjoy it sauted in olive oil over medium-low heat with garlic and onions, and finished with soy sauce and some nice vinegars. Like cabbage, avoid overcooking it, just applying enough heat to wilt and brighten the color of the kale. It can be used in most of the same ways as spinach but be aware that it is more fibrous and thus will not wilt as easily. See the Recipes of the Week to learn how to make kale chips, a wonderful and non-intuitive use for a green vegetable, and kale pesto, an excellent alternative to basil pesto. Kale is also a good addition to morning smoothies. 

Storage: Keep in a sealed plastic bag in the crisper drawer set on high humidity. Should keep well for at least a week. Kale is already double washed so should not need to be rinsed again. However, if you do, make sure to spin or pat dry before cooking or storing. 

New Potatoes - New potatoes are the first young tubers that are dug from potato plants, starting approximately 2 months after planting or when the plants begin to flower. New potatoes can be "stolen" from underneath the plant or, in the case of the farm, we dig whole rows of early producing varieties that are specifically planted for new potato harvest. This week's medley includes Red Gold (red skin, gold flesh), Yukon Gold (yellow skin and flesh), and Purple Majesty (purple skin and flesh). 

Preparation & Cooking:  New potatoes have delicate skin that easily flakes off. You will notice some damage to the skins from handling them during harvest and packing. We may or may not wash them prior to delivery depending on how dirty they are and how delicate the skin is upon harvest. Later potatoes that have cured skins do not damage as easily and will always be washed prior to delivery. Scrub them gently under running water to remove soil when you are ready to use them (not sooner). New potatoes are more tender and sweet than cured potatoes and will cook faster. They can be steamed or boiled whole or sliced and pan fried (my favorite way). New potatoes are excellent for cold potato salads.

Storage: Unlike cured potatoes, which can stand being at room temperature for long periods of time, new potatoes should always be stored in a plastic bag in the refrigerator and should be used within a few weeks. 

Recipes of the Week

Kale Chips

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Strip kale from stems and tear up into chip-size pieces. In a large bowl, toss with just enough nice quality oil to coat the leaves but no more.  You can massage the oil into the kale if desired. Spread kale in one layer on cookie sheet and put in pre-heated oven. Let bake 20 minutes and then flip over kale. Set timer for 10 more minutes. Continue checking kale and baking until it has “crisped” and is no longer soft. Remove from oven and put back into large bowl. Toss with salt and other spices to taste. Store at room temperature in a sealed plastic container. Will keep for several days.

Kale Pesto

Serve on pasta as a substitute for tomato sauce or use as a topping on cooked vegetables (like new potatoes).

Yields 4 large servings. Freeze or refrigerate. 

5 cups raw, chopped kale
1 cup walnuts (optional)
2-6 cloves of garlic (adjust for taste)
1 lemon
½ cup grated pecorino or parmesan cheese
1 ½ tsp salt
1 ½ cups of good olive oil


  1. Juice and zest whole lemon, saving the zest on the side and omitting the seeds from the juice.
  2. In a food processor, puree kale, garlic, walnuts, ½ tsp of salt and ½ cup olive oil. Puree until pasty, scraping the sides to get all kale included.
  3. Add lemon juice and zest, cheese, salt and the rest of the olive oil (as needed). 
Photo of the Week

Kate and Megan planting broccoli as part of the farm's summer broccoli trial with Practical Farmers of Iowa. I am participating in this trial along with several other vegetable farmers to test out three varieties for their ability to produce broccoli in the hottest part of the summer, July and August. Broccoli is more typically planted in the spring for June and early July harvest, and mid-summer for September - November harvest. With newer more heat resistant varieties, it may be possible to grow broccoli continuously through an Iowa summer. This dry, hot summer is the perfect season to do this test! I'm already seeing the need for heat resistant qualities in broccoli from even my early broccoli plantings. 
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